Emotion Comet Kayak

    Photo: Photo by Inga Hendrickson

We've seen killer prices on Emotion kayaks before, but the Comet pairs that affordability with performance. At eight foot three, it resembles a duckie but tours (and accelerates) like a boat twice the length and six times the price. It's not surprising, since legendary boatbuilder Jim Snyder, who's created more than 75 boats in his lifetime, was on the design team. On the ­water, the Comet wiggles a little for the first couple of strokes but almost immediately straightens out and tracks like an arrow. Plus it's practically indestructible. (We watched Emotion fill this boat with water, drop it from a forklift, and crush it under a truck—and after both assaults it bounced back unfazed to its original shape.) Adjust­able foot pegs let you brace your back against the ample, contoured plastic seat, while front and back deck bungees hold sunscreen or a map. Bonus: An inflatable air bladder in the stern means that even if you flip, the boat will still float. 8'3", 38 lbs; emotionkayaks.com
Stability: 4.7
Maneuverability: 4.9 (out of 5)
$279

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